South Korean lawmakers said North Korea had received aid from Russia for its successful launch of a reconnaissance satellite earlier this week, Reuters reported on Nov. 23.
North Korea's launch on Nov. 21 was the third attempt after two failed tries and the first since its leader Kim Jong Un traveled to Russia in September, where Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to help Pyongyang develop satellites.
According to Yoo Sang-bum, a member of the South Korean parliamentary intelligence committee, North Korea shared data on vehicles used in two previous satellite launches with Russia, which then provided Pyongyang with its analysis.
"Regarding the success of the third launch, the National Intelligence Service assessed that there was assistance from Russia," Yoo said at a press conference.
Reuters cited North Korean state-run media reports that Kim had seen images of U.S. military facilities taken by the satellite above Guam in the Pacific Ocean.
However, Yoo emphasized it was difficult to verify whether the North Korean satellite was capable of producing such images.
"They (the intelligence agency) were not in a situation to determine the satellite's capabilities unless North Korea releases a video showing that it took those pictures of Guam," Yoo said, as cited by Reuters.
Earlier, the Group of Seven condemned arms transfer from North Korea to Russia as a direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs).
With Russia's military stocks running low and domestic production capacity simultaneously hampered by Western sanctions, it has increasingly turned to other sources for military equipment, including North Korea.
According to U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken, these military ties are increasingly a "two-way street," in which North Korea provides Russia with military equipment to use in Ukraine.
In turn, Russia offers military technology and assists with North Korea's long-range attack capabilities, potentially including ballistic missiles and nuclear technology.